Last month I was invited to attend a meeting in New York to brief staff members of Israel’s Knesset who were accompanied by members of the Israeli media. The session was part of a multi-day visit to educate Israeli opinion and decision makers about the American Jewish community. I spoke to them in Hebrew in my capacity as Director of Israel Policy and Advocacy at a luncheon sponsored by the Rabbinical Assembly at the Jewish Theological Seminary. My goal was to explain the nature of the partnership between the American Jewish community and Israel from our perspective. I wanted them to understand the nature of what we do and how significant our role as advocates on behalf of Israel is. I also sought to convey the role that Israel plays in the fabric and life of our synagogues.
To that end, I spoke about the high level of participation of Conservative Jews in national Zionist organizations such as AIPAC, Jewish National Fund, as leaders Jewish Federations of North America and of Israel Bonds. I also shared with them information about the work we did to help galvanize support for Israel in the United Nations to thwart the effort of the Palestinian Authority for member status without direct negotiations with Israel this past September. I spoke about our access to and lobbying of members Congress and the administration on behalf of Israel, as well as the visits to embassies that came to the aid of Israel to help extinguish the Carmel fire in December of 2010.
I also spoke about the role that Israel plays in our individual congregations. Among the things that I referred to were congregational trips to Israel and the regular recitation of the prayer for the State of Israel at shabbat services. I made mention of the pride we take in sending so many young people to Israel along with the educational programs we have sponsored to help prepare our young people for Israel related issues and anti-Israel propaganda they may encounter on college campuses.
Also published on Medium.